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Research Through Making AURORA PROJECT Exhibition Opens at the Van Alen Institute Gallery in New York City

Taubman College 2008-2009 Architecture Fellows and partners of Future Cities Lab Jason Kelly Johnson (Oberdick), and Nataly Gattegno (Muschenheim), opened an exhibit at the Van Alen Institute in New York on Sept. 16, 2009.

THE AURORA PROJECT was funded in part by the University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning’s Research Through Making Grant awarded in Feb. 2009 during their fellowship year at UM. The Research Through Making Grant is intended to fund research and experimentation through making.

Johnson and Gattegno’s work offers an index of shifting territorial resources in the Arctic and creates a speculative vision for a massive new energy infrastructure and settlement pattern. An innovative spatial representation of an imminent environmental condition, it suggests how contemporary political, social, and ecological trends might be channeled toward a more productive future for the region.

Photos from Aurora

The exhibition comprises three related installations. “Aurora” interconnects the ephemeral qualities of the Arctic ice field with the dynamic behavior of its viewers, translating the shifting dimensions of the ice into an immersive system of flickering auroras and responsive luminescent skins. “Terra Incognita” is a map room consisting of original drawings, diagrams, and other materials that provide a view into how the Arctic region has been represented, claimed, and mythologized in the past and present. A smaller interactive instrument, “The Glaciarium,” engages visitors’ senses through the sight and sound of a melting ice core.

VAN ALEN INSTITUTE EXHIBITION: September 16–October 15, 2009

Institutions credited with supporting the exhibit, in addition to The University of Michigan Taubman College Research Through Making Grant: The Van Alen Institute (NY Prize Fellowship in Systems and Ecology); The University of Michigan Map Library; Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts Grant; Columbia University Avery CNC Fabrication Lab; NYC College of Technology – CityTech @ CUNY.